Robbie Fowler lays the blame at the foot of Arsenal’s hierarchy for the current Mesut Ozil situation.
The German international signed a new contract last January, thought to be worth over £300,000 a week, as Arsenal sought to to keep arguably their most talented player at the club.
Ozil has flattered to deceive since penning the new deal however, and has struggled to make an impact under new manager Unai Emery, who has something of an aversion to using number 10’s in his high-energy system.
Former Liverpool and Leeds United striker Fowler has criticised the Gunners for hitting the panic button, while lamenting the trend of modern players who are happy to warm the bench and take home a massive pay cheque:
“People may disagree with me, but I would never condemn a player for accepting a contract offer the club were happy to make. I don’t mind the players getting paid the money,” Fowler told the Mirror.
“Things have changed though. When I was playing, if you were not in the side it did your head in and you had to move on, not matter what. Now, they seem able to take it. Is that modern football, is that because of the money that they are getting paid now?
“Very probably, and you can’t really blame Ozil for that. What it means though, is it’s virtually impossible to get rid of him. Who’s going to pay £300,000 a week for a player who has talent, can be a game changer, but shows it maybe every four or five games?
“And that is where my contention lies. Not with the player, but with the club for panicking and giving him such a nonsense deal. Yes, I get that you need to keep talent.
“And, absolutely, if it’s a Messi or Ronaldo, or even a Harry Kane or Mo Salah, you pay for that world-class consistency or the promise of it. But I’ve always thought Ozil wasn’t consistent enough to be bracketed amongst the best in the world.
“Yes, he’s technically gifted, and yes he can see a pass… but so can plenty of others.
“Arsenal made themselves a massive hostage to fortune giving a contract like that, to a player like that, and it’s come back to haunt them.”
Fowler believes the Ozil conundrum is one possible reason Arsenal have not given Aaron Ramsey the deal he wanted, with the Welsh international set to join Juventus in the summer.
“You have to imagine that they are letting Aaron Ramsey go because they don’t want to get bitten again.
“The suggestion is, he was asking for money parity with Ozil. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know you leave yourself open to that sort of thing.”